You’ve made the decision to get a dog.
Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: what sort of dog should you get?
All dogs are wonderful, but not every dog is great in every situation. Before you get a specific dog you need to give some thought to the type dog you want. What size dog do you want? How much room do you have? Do you have children and/or other pets? How much time are you willing to spend exercising and/or grooming your dog? Is someone home during the day or will the dog have to spend a lot of time alone? These are all basic, simple questions—but they are important.
These answers will give you the basics you need to get an idea of the breed or breeds of dogs that would be appropriate for you. But should you go with a purebred, or get a mixed breed? There are advantages—and disadvantages—to both.
Purebred Plus: Standards
When you get a puppy, you will have a definite size range, both for her height and for her weight as an adult. You will know what type of fur she will have as an adult, and how much grooming she will require. You will know what her bark is like, and if the breed is inclined to bark a lot, a little, or somewhere in between.
You also will know something about her temperament, her intelligence, how easy she’ll be to train, how social she’ll be, and how territorial she’ll be.
Those are very valuable pluses to getting a purebred.
Purebred Con: Price
On the negative side, you’ll get your dog from a breeder. She will be expensive (at least, more expensive than a shelter dog). You may have to wait many months to get a pup. Even after putting down the deposit many breeders require, you may not get your pick of the litter.
Many breeds were developed to do a particular job. Traits that were important for the job, such as a high energy level or some independent thinking, may not be traits you want in a companion pet.
There are also health issues that are more prominent in some breeds. Your dog might be more prone to those health issues.
And just because the size, coat, and personality traits that you are looking for are typical in the breed you choose, doesn’t mean that every individual dog of that breed will fit that mold.
Mixed Breed Plus: Many Up for Adoption
Let’s look at other end of the spectrum, a mixed breed. On the plus side, animal shelters have lots of mutts of varying ages up for adoption. If size is of particular concern to you, you can get an adult dog. There is a large variety of dogs. You might find a mutt that encompasses more qualities you are looking for than you could find in any specific breed. And many shelter dog owners are convinced their dogs know they were rescued, and the dogs are forever grateful to their saviors.
Mutts are not immune to the health issues some purebreds face, but may be less likely to have inherited a condition than their purebred cousins.
Mixed Breed Con: Many Unknown Factors
A mutt in this discussion is a mixed breed dog of unknown lineage. It can be hard to tell what breeds are included in a mutt, especially as a puppy. Without an idea of the puppy’s heritage, you have no idea how small she’ll stay or how large she’ll get. Her personality traits, trainability, and even her adult coat of fur are all unknowns.
Whether you go with a purebred or mixed breed, at the end of the day, if you raise your dog with love and respect, she’ll meet and exceed all your expectations and be just the companion you were looking for.